Plenty at stake for Galway’s first division clubs

Four clubs in Galway have been invited to a Monday night meeting about the formation of a new Connacht Senior League at the McWilliam Park Hotel in Claremorris.

Salthill Devon, Mervue United, Galway United Supporters Trust, and NUI Galway will be represented alongside Sligo Rovers, St John's Athletic, Ballinasloe Town, Longford Town, Athlone Town, Willow Park, Westport United, Castlebar Celtic, and Ballina Town.

The old Connacht Senior League finished in 2000 following a 19-year stint, but the FAI believes the game in the west can be developed by re-establishing the competition.

Connacht FA officials met with FAI chief executive officer John Delaney last week and the association is keen to ensure a September start for the tournament.

Between the white chalk lines, Mervue United suffered their first defeat of the Airtricity League first division campaign at St Colman's Park last Saturday evening, losing a mad match against Cobh Ramblers.

There was no shortage of incident or intrigue during a truly bizarre match that Cobh shaded 5-3. Three red cards were issued to Mervue’s Marc Ludden, Connor Gleeson, and Mike Elwood during a frenetic second half. Four goals from Conor Meade, including three spot-kicks meant Mervue left the Munster venue without any dividend.

Ludden, Gleeson, and Elwood are now suspended for tomorrow's Fahy Field encounter with Wexford Youths.

In a particularly tight first division, second-placed Mervue now trail table-toppers Longford Town by four points, but they are only two ahead of Wexford, who are in seventh.

That means there will be plenty at stake for Mervue, who will be keen to respond to the Cobh reversal on home turf. The bans to three players will have an impact on Johnny Glynn's preparations with Michael McSweeney, Tom King, Noel Varley, Gary Curran, Jason Molloy, and Ryan Manning expected to occupy leading roles once more. Talented teenager Manning bagged again in Cobh and continues to show real promise at this level for Mervue.

Salthill Devon make the long journey to Ballybofey for a clash with a lively Finn Harps outfit that will be keen to cut Longford's lead at the summit.

There has been a touch of the erratic about Harps, who commenced the campaign well, but the past fortnight has been slightly disappointing for them. Draws with Mervue and Wexford were followed by an Athlone Town win at Lissywoolen which ensure Harps are third in the standings.

Salthill have been resilient in recent weeks, but they leaked a cruel last minute goal at Drom on Friday as Waterford United's Padraic Quinn earned the visitors the full complement of spoils.

A Jakub Tomanica strike had brought Salthill level, but Quinn landed the decisive blow in the dying seconds. Cian Fadden, Brian Geraghty, Colm Horgan, Brian Gaffney, Robbie Gaul, and Derek O'Brien will need to be similarly effective in Donegal as Harps will pose a significant threat.


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